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Performance Fibers to invest in one facility, close another

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Thread produced by Performance Fibers
Thread produced by Performance Fibers is used in car tire and industrial reinforcement applications.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C.—Performance Fibers will close its production facility in New Hill, N.C., and transfer production to its plant in Salisbury, N.C.

The move is in conjunction with the firm's footprint rationalization initiative, which entails a $25 million investment over the next 21 months for improvements in product quality and the creation of a product development center, said Director of Marketing Brad Leach.

“It's been a decision that's taken quite awhile for us to come to,” he said. “But when we decided that we needed to make an investment in our equipment and modernize our capabilities, we had to make some decisions.”

The New Hill facility is expected to close after all products are transferred, which the firm said is expected to be completed over then next 12-15 months. Leach said Performance Fibers plans to transfer half of the volume being displaced to Salisbury over the next 90 days.

The Salisbury facility employs 200, and New Hill's head count sits at 235. Leach said 60 new positions will be created at the Salisbury plant, and that New Hill employees will have an opportunity to apply for them. The sites are about 110 miles apart.

One reason why Salisbury was selected to remain open over New Hill was because it has the capability to service all of Performance Fibers' industrial accounts, Leach said.

“When we looked at the two sites, we could have selected to go the other way and consolidate into (New Hill),” he said. “But we didn't for lots of reasons. One of them was because Salisbury has the manufacturing flexibility to make the industrial products.”

Technical lab to consolidate

A product development center is in the works for Salisbury, Leach said. The firm will consolidate its technical lab from New Hill into Salisbury, which Leach said has much larger floor space and abilities to expand.

Performance Fibers said New Hill produces polyethylene terephthalate fiber polymer and spins multifilament fiber with the capability to produce 100 million pounds of PET fiber annually. About 90 percent of its production is concentrated on tire reinforcements, the rest on other reinforcements.

Salisbury primarily produces PET polymer and spins multifilament fiber with the capability to produce 200 million pounds per year. About 15 percent of its production focuses on tire reinforcements and 85 on other reinforcements.

Leach said Salisbury has enough room to absorb all of New Hill's capacity and still have space to grow because neither facility is operating at full capacity. With the inherited production, Salisbury will have a more balanced breakdown between tire and other reinforcements.

Performance Fibers is making investments throughout its production facilities primarily to upgrade and modernize its equipment, Leach said. A good portion of the investment will be made in equipment changes designed to upgrade quality performance.

Two plants to be upgraded

Performance Fibers will invest
Performance Fibers will invest $25 million for upgrades in its plant in Salisbury, N.C.

Leach said the investment will be mixed throughout the firm's plants, but Salisbury and its facility in Winnsboro, S.C., will receive upgrades.

Performance Fibers operates eight manufacturing sites worldwide with three regional offices.

In addition to its U.S. sites in Salisbury, Winnsboro and the soon-to-be closed New Hill facility, the firm has a plant in Shelby, N.C. It operates plants in Queretaro, Mexico; Bad Hersfeld, Germany; Longlaville, France; and Kaiping, China.

Performance Fibers is headquartered in Huntersville, just north of Charlotte. The firm has regional offices in Bascharage, Luxembourg, and Hong Kong.